Monday, 30 September 2013

GREEK SEA BASS FILLETS WITH OLIVES & LEMON

After my extremely piggy lunch I knew supper had to be something healthy and low cal. My jeans had already started bursting at the seams the moment I left Byron & it was too early for my elasticated trackie bums as I still needed to do the school run.

I decided to do a recipe card of Greek sea bass fillets with olives & lemon, some new potatoes and roasted vegetables. I have cooked this several times before, it is quick and easy & very tasty, however you do need to burn a candle and open the windows while cooking as frying the fish seriously makes your house stink!!

Ingredients for 2 people:

4 Greek sea bass fillets around 90-100g each (I don't think it has to be Greek if you can't find it & I am sure another white fish like sea bream would also do the job)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
25g pine nuts
12 green olives stuffed with pimiento
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of dried oregano or 10g chopped fresh oregano


Turn the oven on to around 100C and pop in a dish or baking tray to keep warm.

Season the sea bass with salt and pepper. Then heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan & add the fish skin side down for 2-3 minutes. I had left Pascal in charge of pouring the olive and he completely overdid it so we were practically deep fat frying our fish!! Whoops. Thankfully it didn't ruin in the dish. After a few minutes (when the skin is crisp & golden brown) turn over & cook the other side for a couple more minutes until the flesh is opaque & cooked through.

Remove the fish from the pan and pop it in the preheated baking tray & oven.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the garlic and pine nuts for 1 minute (these brown quickly so keep your eye on them) and then add the olives and saute for a further minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice - let it bubble & sprinkle in the oregano.

Finally take the fish out from the oven, spoon over the sauce and serve with roasted vegetables and new potatoes.


As always Pascal was extremely negative about having fish for supper - complaining it wasn't filling or satisfying!! In fact we all enjoyed it, especially Arabella who has requested to have it again soon. 

We have come to the deal that every week I will choose a fish recipe & Pascal & Arabella can decide on a pasta dish....tomorrow we are killing two birds with one stone & having tuna pasta!! 

This recipe is around 450 calories and takes 5 minutes to prepare & 7 to actually cook - a perfectly healthy week night supper!



BYRON, FULHAM BROADWAY

I woke up this morning with such good intentions to be healthier this week - lots of gym trips, no wine, lots of soup & fish and no eating in between meals....I started well & did a body attack class at the gym which was hardcore but excellent however when I returned home my fiance suggested we go out for lunch....so all the good intentions flew straight out the window.

Because I don't like to do things by halves we decided to go to the newish Byron Burger in Fulham Broadway. I have had a couple of Byrons in the past but it was several years ago. Two of my very very good friends reckon that Byron burgers are the best you can get - I was unsure as I was never blown away or rushed back to have one, so I decided to give it another go.

Fulham Broadway's Byron certainly looks the part - lovely dark booths, a huge chandelier, marble tables & prompt service with a smile. I was also a huge fan of the menu - burgers with various toppings, chicken or veggie burgers & then plenty of very appealing sides. 

http://www.byronhamburgers.com/menu/

Being absolute piggies we went to town - we both had the special burger of the month - le smokey burger - which came with wafer thin bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, fried onions, shredded lettuce and pickles. We declined the chilli BBQ sauce and had mayonnaise instead. We were so tempted by all the sides that we ordered the iceberg wedge with blue cheese & bacon, the macaroni cheese, onion rings & fries - obviously no point in holding back!!

After much anticipation it soon arrived...



The burger certainly looked good - soft bun & lots of toppings but still able to fit in your mouth - Pascal really enjoyed his - however it just did not do it for me. I thought the bun was a bit dry and too thick & the burger too meaty - this probably sounds completely strange as burgers are meat but I found the taste too overpowering. Obviously I finished it all but it was not my best in anyway (sorry Corrie & Ceri)!!

The iceberg wedge on the other hand was delicious.


Plenty of blue cheese yet not too much that the lettuce is drowning in it & lots of crispy bacon - the iceberg wedge itself was fresh and crunchy - Pascal & I practically licked the plate clean (I even used the chips to soak up any left over sauce)!

The onion rings were another favourite of mine although Pascal found them a little greasy.


There was not too much batter yet full of flavour.

I was also a big fan of the fries - for once I didn't have to add a mountain of salt - they were some of the best chips I have had (although at 540 calories for a small bowl I should bloody hope so)!


Finally there was the macaroni cheese - the only way I could describe this is rubbish :-(


It certainly looked good and had a great amount of cheese but it was really bland - it is definitely missing something - maybe they don't salt the pasta? It had no flavour whatsoever & for the first time in my life I did not finish it - such a disappointment.

There was a great selection of puddings and milkshakes on the menu but we were too stuffed to eat anymore. 

So what's my verdict - I think the restaurant is a great concept, it is all very reasonably priced and I like the way you order your burgers from the table rather than going up to a counter like in Shake Shack or Five Guys. BUT I didn't rate the food very highly....maybe I was expecting too much as I guess this is the burger equivalent of pizza express. Byron is hugely popular & the restaurants are everywhere - there are 29 in London alone. Lots of people I know love it but unfortunately it did not rock my boat.


11 Bank Buildings
Fulham Broadway
London
SW6 1EP
Tel: 020 7610 3807

Square Meal

Friday, 27 September 2013

JACCI'S CHEESE & CHIVE DIP

One of the things I love about having friends round or going to other people's houses, is that it is a good excuse to to eat crisps and dip. I love a mature cheddar and red onion kettle chip with some hummus, in fact I like any crisp with hummus, guacamole, taramasalata and especially cheese & chive dip as I am a cheese enthusiast!!

During the summer we went to stay with friends and, as it was a beautiful day, we sat in the garden with some rose and crudités, crisps and dips....one of them being the best cheese & chive dip I have ever had. I thought it had to have been bought at a farm shop or local deli when in fact she had made it herself....

Ingredients:

A pot of cheese & chive dip
A couple of chopped up continental onions
Grated cheese (you can use cheddar or red leicester - the amount you put on depends on how cheesy you want it - I put in about half a block)


It is really simple - chop up the spring onions, grate the cheese and mix together & finito!!


I guarantee you this is delicious - Pascal & I have polished off this whole bowl just the two of us (before a 3 course supper) as it is so good - you cannot stop yourself (like pringles)!!!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

BACON, TOMATO & MOZZARELLA TART

This is just a quickie as I have already posted a tart recipe (Roasted Toamto & Goat's Cheese Tart) but tonight I cooked another one - as I said it is a very popular supper in our house! Tonight I did a bacon, mozzarella & tomato tart.

You pretty much cook it as before. Firstly you need to grill the bacon (I used a pack of 8 rashes) & preheat the oven to 220C. You need to lay out the pastry like the previous tart and then add about 2 tablespoons of tomato puree (instead of pesto) and layer the tomatoes on top. Cover with the rashes of bacon and finally the mozzarella (I used a 250g ball). I also sprinkled some dried basil on top.

Put it in the oven at 220C for 25 minutes and then rest for a few minutes before you serve.


We managed to eat the entire lot between the three of us with a green salad - it was delish!!!

THE GYM - BODY PUMP


I thought it might be time to update the exercise section seeing as it is still completely blank!!!

Due to the huge amount I eat and drink I have to go to the gym regularly otherwise I would be the size of a house. I kind of go with the theory that if I exercise a few times a week I should be able to maintain my weight (more or less).

I really notice the difference when I eat like a piglet and don’t move a muscle (aka Lanzarote May 2013 – a 7lb weight gain in 2 weeks) and then the other side of the spectrum when I eat like an anorexic and exercise like mad (a 10lb weight loss in Jan / Feb) – unfortunately this was impossible to keep up & so incredibly boring!!

I would say probably 98% of people I know HATE exercise – I try to do about 4-5 classes at the gym a week which might sound totally insane but I have turned exercise into a habit – you just need to get over the first hurdle of starting.

I put my gym clothes on in the morning for the school run (quicker than thinking about what to wear) so then I feel I have to go & work out - although there have been times when I have gone back to bed in said gym clothes! This also means during the holidays when there is no school run my gym going is pretty non existent.

If you are a member of a gym, I would definitely recommend trying out some classes – group mentality can really spur you on. I know it can be scary being new but you normally get over that pretty quickly as you are too busy following the steps and trying not to make a tit of yourself. The classes I have been to are such a mix of men and women aged from about 20 – 75, they are all shapes and sizes and different fitness abilities, so it is unlikely you will feel the odd one out.

For me the best thing about exercise if the feeling after – the endorphins, the proudness, and even the sweatiness makes you feel fantastic plus you can then eat a burger or pizza or both (I hear you can now get a pizzaburger?) without feeling guilty.

One of the classes I would recommend is Body Pump.

This is my favourite class – you use barbells, plates and steps, and do set routines to a pumped-up soundtrack. This class challenges the whole body & is 20% cardio, 70% strength & 10% mind & body.

You aren’t running around like a lunatic but the class still makes you sweat & out of breath – I did it this morning and my elbows were even sweating – grim!! Each track works a different body part – you warm up with your lightest weights on the bar & then after than you work your back, chest, bottom, legs, triceps, biceps, shoulders & finally abdominals. The music is generally pretty good and up to date and you get to work on your muscles – and the more muscle you have the quicker you burn calories – so more food & wine!!! According to my fitness pal - I burn off about 475 calories for an hour class - that is nearly a Big Mac which isn't bad at all.

Benefits include:
•                It will improve your strength
•                LOTS of repetitions
•                It will improve your general fitness
•                It will shape and tone your muscles
•                It will protect your bones and joints from injury
•                It gets you into shape fast
•                You will feel confident

Have a go & let me know what it is like…..

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

HUSH, LANCASHIRE COURT, MAYFAIR

I adore this place - despite the fact you are a few minutes walk from the crowds and craziness of Oxford Street & Bond Street  - Hush feels like a little oasis of calm - it has a very cute little garden/terrace, a restaurant area with fantastic booth seating as well as an upstairs dining area and a very classy bar. Apparently there is also a fabulous private dining room although I have not had the pleasure of seeing this yet.

Pascal recently had an operation on his lip so isn't very keen to be out and about in case people stare at him. Unfortunately his check up appointment was behind Oxford Street, plus I then needed to go to Zara and Selfridges (as you do), so he couldn't stay inconspicuous like he wanted to!

It was then lunchtime and as he currently finds it hard to eat we couldn't go to Patty & Bun like I wanted and so instead went to Hush which was perfect as he was in need of some peace. We have been here a few times before for drinks - we love the terrace and the upstairs bar - they have a wide range of cocktails - some delicious, some hardcore - but we always have great fun trying!!

This time we sat on the terrace - it was a bit chilly but the heaters were on and the surroundings were so pretty we did not want to go inside. The menu is varied (fish cake, lobster roll, burger, steak, duck confit) and apparently uses the best of English, Italian & French ingredients.

I nearly fell off my chair when Pascal announced he was only going to have Sea Bass with Lemon Thyme Butter - no sides and no booze - had the doctor also operated on his head?! I had been eyeing up the starter of macaroni cheese & crispy bacon followed by the Hush burger (oink oink) but then felt I should follow his example and try and be "good".

So I ended up ordering the Rare Tuna Salad with Soy & Ginger Dressing as a main course....

It was good - the tuna was thinly sliced and tender & the sauce added flavour but it wasn't overpowering. My only complaint was there could have been more lettuce leaves.....plus it wasn't a burger!!

Pascal really enjoyed his sea bass - the waiter filleted it and it was very fresh with a touch of lemon.....I think he lost weight eating it!



Everybody else in the restaurant seemed to be eating the burger and it looked soooooooooo good - I had serious food envy. To be honest there was lots on the menu I would have liked so I have said to Pascal we must come back when we are not so angelic!! We finished off with a coffee and then that was that.

It certainly was not cheap but then most places round there are not, especially if you have such a beautiful setting & the service was very efficient. 

I will be heading back for both a burger and drinks and the restaurants booths look so fab that I think it would be a great place to go for supper if there were 6 of you. Pascal really loved the fact they even had a cigar tray - I think it is one restaurant where you could settle in for many many hours!!


No. 8 Lancashire Court,
Brook Street,
London
W1S 1EY
Tel: 020 7659 1500
Email: info@hush.co.uk

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

GOLA RESTAURANT, FULHAM (AGAIN)!


As I have mentioned several several times I LOVE Gola. I have already done my review however I have a few more pictures to share after my brilliant birthday supper there 10 days ago (I have been a bit slow off the mark at putting them on – I did have a terrible hangover)!!

I went with Pascal & 6 other friends and we managed to eat and drink like absolute pigs – champagne, wine, aperol spritz, grappa etc to drink and the list of food was endless.

Aaron, the owner, gave us a selection of starters such as bruschetta, antipasti boards with cold meats, vegetables, burrata, our favourite pizza with sausage & broccoli, a new pizza with beef Carpaccio, mushrooms & truffle oil, calamari & frito misto & finally my new favourite dish Terrina di Caciocavallo Alla Brace (melted caciocavallo cheese with oregano & cherry tomatoes).

Sometimes it pays off to try something new as I will definitely be having this next time I go (4 days time – no wonder I can’t shift my bloody holiday weight)!

The food just kept on coming – I was in Heaven & obviously so busy stuffing my face I forgot to take pics!

For mains I did remember and here is a selection of what we had:

Obviously I went for my usual Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe which was incredible as always.



My lovely friends Laura & Ceri had the Orrecchiette – I don’t know exactly what this was but it was meaty and cheesy and absolutely delicious! I am even going to break the habit of a lifetime and have this one next time as well!


Pascal doesn’t do things by halves and so he had two dishes - the veal Milanese with a side of tomato & basil pasta – his favourite – (you probably won’t be surprised to hear he can’t lose the holiday weight either)!!



My BFF Amanda and her husband both had the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Pistachio Crust & a Tomato Salad. I did try this and it was delicious – the tuna was very rare and simply melted in your mouth – although I can’t see ever myself ordering fish when there is such good pizza and pasta on offer.


Finally my gorgeous friends Hard & Fran both had Zucchine Crusted Sea Bass with Cherry Tomatoes & a Green Salad. I didn’t try this but they both raved about it.


Finally the evening ended with a big chocolate cake!

It was a fantastic night (from what I can remember, it gets very hazy towards the end) – a fabulous meal as always and I will definitely be going back for my birthday next year when I am, of course, 25 again!!


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LOCALE, MUNSTER ROAD, FULHAM

While Gola is my favourite Italian restaurant, Locale is my closest & has become a very regular haunt. It's got a lovely little garden/terrace out front, a relaxed bar area and then the restaurant. It is a very relaxed place to go to grab and pizza or pasta and it has some great deals which I LOVE!! 

50% off steak on a Monday night, Happy Hour everyday from 5pm-7pm and then my absolute favourite - Happy Hour and free canapes on a Friday from 5pm-8pm (I have started revolving my Friday plans around this)!! The staff are really friendly, there is a children's menu (pasta, pizza, chicken, fish) and a good selection of cocktails - so it really has something for everyone!

The menu has stuzzichini (Italian tapas) like calamari, bruschetta or antipasti whilst the main menu has starters like scallops wrapped in pancetta, a mozzarella & tomato salad and veal meatballs in a mushroom sauce. Main courses range from various pizzas to pasta (my favourite is the Abruzzo style “guitar string” fresh egg pasta with homemade beef meatballs tossed in ‘Locale’ tomato sauce) to steaks, fish or salad.


Often Pascal, Arabella & I go on a Friday for happy hour and nibbles - Arabella has a pizza and an ice cream, Pascal & I have some cocktails, wine & free canapés and we all go home with smiles on our faces (especially me). 

Last night Pascal & I went to see Diana at the cinema (I surprisingly liked it & would recommend it despite the terrible reviews) and then we popped to Locale for some wine and pizza. It was a Monday night and it was buzzing - a great happy atmosphere - being fond of the booze we decided to sit in the bar area (I also like it as it's a great spot for people watching). We had several glasses of wine while studying the menu. It was a toughie as there were about 4 different starters we wanted and then a pizza and then a pasta and Pascal was also keen on the steak deal and I had my eye on their Italian Burger. However we managed to rein it in as the scales are not my friend at the moment & I should be just on soup and grapefruit but how boring is that?!!

We started by ordering an Americana pizza which has mozzarella, tomato, meatballs and ricotta - it was delicious.



The thing I like about the pizzas here are they are very thin and then the tomato sauce is fresh and flavoursome - like you would imagine an Italian Mama making in Naples. The ricotta and meatballs work perfectly together as the ricotta adds extra cheese (yum yum) and the meatballs are much healthier and less processed than a meat like pepperoni.

In typical EJ & Pascal piglet like fashion one pizza wasn't enough so we ended up ordering another. One of Pascal's favourite pasta dishes to make is tuna pasta so we decided to try the Tonno e Cipolle which has mozzarella, tomato, tuna, red onion & capers. 


It was also very good but not my favourite - a bit too fishy and obviously not enough cheese. That is not to say we didn't polish the whole lot off and practically licked the plate clean!!

The two pizzas hit the spot as did the wine and it turned out to be a lovely evening.

Locale is very easy - simple, friendly, good food and wine and great surprise deals. My brother lives outside Reading and can buy a double gin & tonic under £3.00. I think that £3.00 in Fulham would buy you the tonic - but no ice, lemon, gin or even use of a glass - so it's nice to find a neighbourhood restaurant where you can buy a cocktail for £4.25 & a pizza for under £10 that doesn't disappear in one mouthful (mentioning no names pizza express).

PS One of my favourite things about Locale is they made me a four cheese pizza last week even though they don't have it on the menu & it was brilliant!! So much cheese!!



LOCALE
222 Munster Road
London
SW6 6AY
Tel: 020 7381 6137

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

SALMON WRAPS WITH GOATS CHEESE & PALMA HAM

After a very heavy birthday weekend, I am back on the fish and soup this week. Not sure how long it will last but I need to make an effort as my jeans are bursting at the seams. I know I should be doing a "Posh" and having white fish and steamed vegetables but I can't bring myself to be that dull so instead made salmon Wraps. 

This is another really simple, quick recipe and absolutely delicious - it works for all the family and is delicious served with a side like green salad or rice or veg (I did peas this time) and new potatoes. I rarely cook potatoes as I only really like fries or dauphinois so will generally forget to mention them as an accompaniment but according to my fiance they go very well with this dish!

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 salmon fillets (about 150g each roughly)
olive oil
100g goat's cheese
A few basil leaves
4 slices of Palma ham



Firstly pre-heat the oven to 200C (fan), 220, gas mark 7 and lightly oil the baking tray.

Lay the slices of Palma ham on a chopping board or in the tray and place the salmon fillets on top. Then place a chunk of goat's cheese and a couple of basil leaves on top.



Finally fold up the ham & put the salmon wraps in the oven to roast for 10-15 minutes (I did 15 tonight and it was perfect).


Another really good recipe - you can easily make the wraps before to save time and they are perfect for a lunch or supper. 

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

WELSH RAREBIT WITH PALMA HAM

It was my birthday last Friday and I went out for lunch at a fantastic little french place in Knightsbridge called Chabrot Bistro Des Amis - it was fantastic but unfortunately due to all my excitement at turning 25 again I forgot to take any photos. I have informed my fiance that we have to go back so I can review it properly so watch this space....it was very good and I would really recommend it.

http://chabrot.com

Anyway after an indulgent birthday lunch, I wanted to have something light ish the next day before my proper celebrations that night with my friends at Gola. I remembered as a child having welsh rarebit regularly on a Saturday but had never tried to cook it myself (surprising as I am the biggest cheese fan).

This is the recipe I used - unfortunately I should not cook hungover - as I made several mistakes but it still tasted delish in the end! 

My first error was not realising the recipe was for a snack rather than lunch (doh) so we ended up making more however here are the ingredients for 8 mini slices of welsh rarebit  - we had 4 each and a piece of toast which was way too much - in future I would have the 4 pieces with a green salad or do 2 or 3 as a canapé.

Ingredients for 8 mini welsh rarebits:

8 x 1cm thick slices of crusty baton bread / baguette
10g unsalted English butter
10g plain flour (I didn't have any so used self rising and it didn't matter)
60ml semi skimmed milk
100g grated cheddar (I used about 200g as I am a piglet but to be honest it was way too much)!
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 egg beaten
4 slices of palma ham 


First things first cut the bread into slices and grill it until lightly golden on both sides and then set aside. Don't do what I did and turn on the oven instead of the grill. I then realised what I had done so turned the grill on and consequently forgot about it!! As you will see from the pictures our bread was certainly cooked!

Over a low heat, gently melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the flour and stir briskly for a minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk until it is smooth and creamy. Then return to the heat, bring to the boil and stir for a further minute. Next mix in the cheese and mustard and remove from the heat and finally mix in the beaten egg, until it is once again smooth and creamy and the cheese is completely melted.


Lay half a slice of palma ham on each bread slice and then top with a spoonful of cheese mixture....try to do it immediately so the cheese doesn't harden up.


Then grill for 3-4 minutes until golden....don't do what I did and nearly forget about it again!!!


It was delicious - the cheese and palma ham work brilliantly together and the mustard gives it a little kick. I would definitely do this again as a canapé or starter at a dinner party or for lunch with salad.

You can also use toast if you don't have a fresh baguette although make sure you toast the bread well first.


The reason it was so well cooked this time is that I didn't realise we had a sudden power cut and so the timer didn't go off but the grill was still hot!! Doh Doh Doh!!

Morale of the day - don't cook on a hangover - get a takeaway instead!! But if you can manage to get this recipe right I would recommend it especially if you like cheese.




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

ROXIE STEAK & WINE CAFE, FULHAM ROAD

After a weekend of hot dogs & pick n mix I should have got back on the straight & narrow on Monday - however my will power is terrible!! 

My daughter was staying with my ex husband & so it was kind of rude not to go out. As it was pouring with rain & completely grey & miserable outside (hello winter) we thought we'd go somewhere local. Obviously Gola was top of my list but seeing we are going there on Saturday we decided to branch out.  

On the Fulham Palace Road there is an Argentinian restaurant called Buenos Aires I have always wanted to try. It's basically a copy of Gaucho Grill but ten times cheaper. It doesn't however share their ambiance and pascal & I wondered whether we would be the only people eating there on a Monday night. How wrong could we be?!! 

It was actually hosting a kicking private party & wouldn't serve food for another hour - I so should have called before - what an error. 

As we were in the mood for meat we decided to go to Roxie Steak & Wine Cafe on the Fulham Road - we'd both been here a couple of times before & enjoyed it. I was shocked to see that Roxie was also busy - Monday night is obviously the new Thursday!! We managed to get a table at the back - both the booths were full at the front & the bar was pretty rammed. Service was extremely quick & we were offered water & an aperitif immediately. 

The menu had changed since I last went - but for the better - lots of great starters like a caprese salad with goats cheese, salt and pepper squid and thai beef salad. We went for the new cured meat platter which had boerewors, pancetta, chorizo, biltong, cornichons, toasted bread & chimichurri dipping sauce. It was delicious - perfect size for a starter. I especially loved the South African meats as they are very rare in restaurants over here (although the biltong was a bit chewy). 



For mains you can have steaks, surf & turf, mixed grill, or fish or risotto if you are not much of a carnivore. Don't die of shock but I had a burger!!! Surprise!!! 

Both Pascal & I had the cheese & bacon burger & we shared a side of fries & mushrooms. The waiter had said the minimum burgers can be cooked is medium rare. Pascal being french likes his moo-ing - the waiter passed this message on to the chef who cooked (or hardly cooked) Pascal's "bleu". I went down the more English route & had mine medium. Both were cooked to perfection & it was a tasty burger with cheddar cheese, a proper slice of bacon and mayo. 




It was not my best burger though....a bit too meaty for me & not enough cheese (!), plus it apparently comes with salad but it is more like a teeny weeny garnishing. Pascal really enjoyed his & would rush back for another. The chips were good and the mushrooms were incredible!! I could have had just them as a main - full of flavour with a touch of salt - delish!! 



We didn't have puddings & instead opted for a amaretto (it is my birthday week after all)! 

All in all, a good meal, I expect we will be coming back again soon although next time I will opt for a steak instead - probably the one that comes with boerewors & prawns (piglet) and definitely with the mushrooms on the side. 

Most steakhouses are so overpriced (Sophie's Steakhouse is so no longer "reasonable") however here you can enjoy good quality meat without breaking the bank.

http://roxiesteak.co.uk

803 Fulham Road,
London
SW6 5HE
Tel: 020 7371 5785
Email: fulham@roxiesteak.co.uk

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

BUBBLEDOGS, CHARLOTTE STREET

I have wanted to go to Bubbledogs since it opened last year - hot dogs and champagne - what's not to like? Well, quite a lot according to my fiance Pascal - he refused to make the 45 minute journey with me to try it out, so I had to resort to just drooling over the hot dog pictures on foodspotting.

Anyway with him out of town last weekend I bribed my 5 year old daughter to come with me as there is a toy museum around the corner - (Pollock Toy Museum.....pretty random but entertaining...good doll selection).

I had heard about the long queues to get a table however I diced with danger and turned up at 1pm - prime lunching time. Thankfully it was not too busy and we got a seat at the bar. The restaurant was much smaller than I expected - it is tiny in fact - around seven tables which mostly sit 4 and at a push 5 and then about 10 bar stools - not the most relaxing environment. It had a buzzy, lively atmosphere and the service was friendly and prompt. 

There are 13 different hot dogs to order ranging from a plain sausage in a bun to a hot dog with Caesar dressing, lettuce, parmesan & crispy chicken skin to one covered with cheddar cheese, apple, pickled onions and homemade piccalilli. For sides you can choose from sweet potato french fries, tater tots or coleslaw.

Arabella ordered a naked hot dog and I ordered the New Yorker (grilled onions) and then I added extra cheese (obviously). We had the sweet potato fries as a side with cheese whizz (a melted cheese sauce). 

There were plenty of champagnes to choose from however I did not indulge - I did not see the point in spending at least £10 on a glass of champagne while sitting on the most uncomfortable stool so I had a diet coke instead (which in my eyes goes much better with a hot dog).

It did not take long for the hot dogs to arrive - soft fresh buns with........a measly, skinny sausage!! What an anti climax!! I would have thought that if your restaurant only served one thing, that thing would be a size you'd be proud of!! The hot dog looked like a pepperami and not the jumbo one!!

Not to be deterred I kept an open mind and tucked in. Looks can be deceiving and I will admit I enjoyed the hot dog - it had a slight kick to it and I loved the combination of the cheese and onion, plus there was PLENTY of cheese. My daughter Arabella however was not a fan - despite being allowed ketchup she still did not rate it and was mighty annoyed we had not gone to Shake Shack for a burger instead. 




The whole hot dog is not big and being the piglet that I am, I was tempted to order another (this time the BLT - bacon with caramelised lettuce and truffle mayo) but I ended up eating half of Arabella's - waste not, want not!!

The sweet potato fries were looked good and were good especially with the cheese whizz. Arabella and I adored this sauce so much, we had to order another portion. I would have preferred normal fries and don't understand why they don't offer them as another option.



It was not a long dining experience and we were in and out the restaurant within half an hour - when we left Arabella made me promise that next time we would go to Shake Shack - I have to admit the hot dog was better there.....thinking about it I had a hot dog in Hyde Park over the summer for £3 and even that had a better sized sausage. 

I did enjoy my New Yorker with cheese and my sweet potato fries with the cheesy sauce however I would not rush back unless I was in the area looking for a quick bite, but even then I think Charlotte Street has better places to offer. One thing's for sure I am very pleased I did not take Pascal as otherwise I would have had an extremely grumpy Frenchman on my hands - (he would not have been happy about the small hot dogs and high stools with no backs).

PS One thing I was a huge fan of were the loos - the wallpaper was made out of different menus - porn for me - I could have spent hours in there!!



http://www.bubbledogs.co.uk

70 Charlotte Street
London
W1T 4QG
Tel: 020 7637 7770

Square Meal
Bubbledogs on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 8 September 2013

TUNA BURGER WITH AVOCADO SALAD

As part of my post summer "detox" diet I decided to cook tuna burgers - you guys already know how much I love a cheese burger so I thought this would be a healthier option. My fiance Pascal especially turned his nose up at the thought of a burger without meat but they turned out surprisingly well. Of course it is not the same as a burger from Five Guys but they are not a bad alternative if you are trying to be good.

Ingredients for 6 burgers:

400g fresh tuna steaks (you can use frozen as long as it is thawed)
100g soft white breadcrumbs
Grated zest and juice of a lemon
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp olive oil
3 big tomatoes sliced
2 avocados sliced
1 red onion thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
A ball of mozzarella (or two depending on how much you like cheese)!!

Place the tuna in a food processor and pulse until finally minced.

Put it in a large bowl and then mix with the breadcrumbs, mustard, beaten egg, lemon juice and lemon zest (god I hate grating a lemon)!



Separate into 6 burgers (damp hands make it easier) and chill for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better as then they don't fall apart - I chilled them for a couple of hours)


I then arranged the mozzarella, onion and tomato on a plate and seasoned and covered with a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil and put the avocado in a separate bowl (you could mix altogether if you like).

Finally to cook the burgers either fry them in a non stick frying pan for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through or barbecue them. I find tuna always cooks faster than you think.


And there you go! Pascal and I thought they were absolutely delicious - he raved about them - Arabella was not so happy about the burgers however once I put a dollop of mayo on her plate she then devoured them!

This supper is super easy to make and can easily be prepared before which I always like plus it is low in saturated fat and counts as one of your five a day.

If you like it hot, you can spice up the recipe by adding a teaspoon of wasabi or harissa paste when mixing the burgers or even put them in a bun with avocado and mayo if you are craving a proper burger!

Enjoy!!